PUNE: Following the rescheduling of the Australian Open with the recently announced ATP Tour calendar for the upcoming COVID-19 disrupted season, India's premier tennis tournament, Tata Open Maharashtra is looking (at least publicly) for possible new dates in 2021.
South Asia's only ATP Tour event, which has been running successfully for the last 25 years in India, is organised and promoted by IMG Reliance under the aegis of Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA).
IF it does go ahead, the 2021 Tata Open Maharashtra will be the fourth edition of the tournament to be held in Pune, Maharashtra.
With the ongoing pandemic disrupting the start of the ATP season, the Australian Open, which generally takes place in the month of January, will be played from February 8 to 21.
Despite the challenges of organising events under a coronavirus cloud, the organisers are keen to host the fourth edition of the event and have been in talks with the ATP, the governing body of men's professional tennis, to explore a possible slot in the second half of the calendar.
"Live sports have been the worst hit in the COVID-19 pandemic times and it has been facing tough challenges. However, it's heartening to see a slow and steady comeback as tournaments have started taking place. While a number of events are cancelled and postponed, we are happy that we still have an opportunity to rework the dates and stage the tournament. We, at Tata Open Maharashtra, are committed to bringing the tournament back for Indian tennis fans," Tournament director Prashant Sutar said in a release.
The possible rescheduling of the event will also provide organisers sufficient time to create a secure bubble environment and implement their plans in the best interest of the players and stakeholders as well as work with the government to reassess the 14-day quarantine rule with existing international protocols. Currently, ATP follows the international norm of 72-hour prior test and negative certification instead of 14-day quarantine.
The MSLTA secretary Sunder Iyer added: "Tata Open Maharashtra is one of the key events in the Indian sporting calendar. We at MSLTA extend full support and are working closely with the organisers IMG Reliance to stage the prestigious tournament once again with all the glory along with the best safety protocols in place."
The last edition of the Tata Open Maharashtra saw Czech Republic's Jiri Vesely emerging champion in the singles while the pair of Andre Goransson and Christopher Rungkat claimed the doubles title.
Public comments notwithstanding, SportzPower's declared position is that the chances of the two tournaments going ahead in 2021 are next to nonexistent. More so in the case of Maharashtra Open, which many tennis players regularly enter as a tune up event for the Australian Open in particular and the year ahead in general.
Tata Maharashtra Open 2021 postponed indefinitely